Famed US Extreme Skier Gets Traditional Nepalese Funeral

A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was on Sunday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials. 

Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off the 8,163-meter (26,775-foot) summit of the world’s eighth-highest mountain, Mount Manaslu, last week while skiing down with her partner, Jim Morrison. 

Nelson’s body was taken to the Sherpa cremation grounds in Kathmandu from a hospital morgue on the back of an open truck that was decorated with a poster of her and bedecked with garlands of flowers. 

Family, friends, mountaineers and government officials gathered at the funeral ground, offering flowers and scarves that were placed on her remains, which were then rested on a stack of wood. Buddhists monks lit the pyre as they played musical instruments and chanted prayers while mourners lit incense. 

Nelson’s family members had flown to Kathmandu for the funeral. 

Nelson disappeared on Sept. 26. Two days later, rescuers searching by helicopter located her body, which was flown to Kathmandu. Bad weather had hampered the search. 

Climbers on Mount Manaslu have been struggling with bad weather conditions and repeated avalanches. 

On the same day Nelson fell, an avalanche at a lower elevation on the same mountain killed a Nepalese man and injured several other climbers. 

Hundreds of climbers and their local guides have attempted to reach the mountain’s summit during Nepal’s autumn climbing season. 

Nelson, from Telluride, Colorado, and Morrison, from Tahoe, California, are extreme skiers who reached the summit of Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain, in 2018. 

Nepal’s government has issued permits to 504 climbers during this year’s autumn climbing season. Most are climbing Mount Manaslu. 

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